Early European explorers introduced carrots and other non-native vegetables to American shores in the sixteenth century. Carrots also found room in many colonial gardens, making them one of the country's staple vegetable crops.
With deep American history roots, it comes as no surprise that carrots often get associated with a variety of American staple foods from stews to soups. Carrots also regained a bit of vegetable cache during the 1980s due in part to the introduction of the varietal and manufactured baby carrots.
As popular root vegetables, carrots also add color and nutritional value such as Vitamin A and beta carotene, to your basic salad.
The top chart compared American per capita consumption of fresh, frozen and canned carrots over the past forty years. The taller red lines indicate consistent American preferences for fresh carrots over either frozen or canned carrots by a three to one or four to one margin.
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Growing Salad Vegetables
The introduction of multiple carrot varieties means there exists a variety suited to almost every back yard garden.
Some popular baby carrot varieties get marketed as sixty day plants from seed to harvest, allowing for multiple harvests/season.
Because carrot growing tips necessarily rely on specific instructions provided by the seed producers, only a few general carrot growing tips will be offered here.
Picture an average length carrot and remember that the soil should be prepared to a depth that accommodates average carrot length.
Healthy looking carrot greens, or the leaves growing atop the carrots above ground, often, but not always, indicate health plant development.
Yellowing or browning of carrot greens can be indicative of a variety of pest problems including aphids and carrot flies.
The picture shows some healthy looking carrot greens growing behind a mature cabbage. It's a common fall garden planting strategy for cole slaw enthusiasts.
Carrot greens, nutritious in their own right, often spice up home made soups and salads.
Indoor Seed Germination Tip: Carrots can be sown by seed directly in the garden. Recommended indoor seed germination temperatures vary according to a few general rules such as seed strain choice and climactic conditions. Seed germination temperature range: 70oF - 80oF.
Spacing: One need only think of carrots growing in bunches to visualize an appropriate carrot planting strategy.
Garden carrots can grow in bunches of 6,12 or whatever number the growing space allows. Once the young shoots develop, thin the plants to allow for at least a two inch circumference around each plant.
1c raw chopped carrots: 7.6 mg Vitamin C
Men 19+: 90 mg/day suggested
Women 19+: 75 mg/day suggested
Harvesting Tips: From seed to salad, carrots can be harvested in about two months time, with exact timing variety dependent.
© 2009-2012. Patricia A. Michaels